Department of Planning

Planning for Urban Sustainability

Planning for Urban Sustainability

The planning of urbanization at all scales, related to infrastructures, everyday life, and the reciprocities between urban settlements and their rural hinterlands, stands as an increasingly important research agenda, not least because of the increased urbanization and the climate crisis. It is expected that by 2030 there will be around 5 billion people living in urban settlements. Such settlements are hubs for innovation, trade, research, production and consumption and provide the best opportunity for transition towards sustainable development, not least because of the opportunity to create common sustainable systems and infrastructures.  

Building on an interdisciplinary approach to urbanization processes, the Planning for Urban Sustainability Group (PLUS) will provide a common forum to develop thinking across silos pertaining to both research and planning practices. The fundamental aim of the group is to establish AAU as a knowledge hub for promoting new integrated urban planning practices for sustainable urban development. The rationale behind the group is founded on the following points: 


  • Contribute to address societal challenges concentrated in urban settlements and generated by urbanization processes. 


  • Urban and rural settlements consist of complex and site -specific arrangements of biophysical, social and economic infrastructures, ideas and flows, whose interactions and intersections configure a wide variety of urban phenomena ranging from the everyday experience of place, processes of social inclusion and exclusion and patterns of consumption, pollution and production.     


  • Develop innovative techniques and methods (smart data) for rendering urban reality visible and governable across academic and professional disciplines, policy sectors and citizens’ everyday practice-based experiences.  
  • Fostering dialogue and debate amongst actors operating at different spatial scales of intervention (co-design, strategy development, experiments, production of urban futures). 
  • Transforming professional disciplines in order to identify and generate new synergies in planning. 
  • Giving voice and agency to actors and entities that would otherwise remain excluded from urban processes (e.g. through the generation of new collectives). 


  • Through national and international research collaborations with other academic entities and including professional sectors and lay people.